Diary of an Adventure

Harbour Town Adventures


Keel boats out at play in the sunshine. Fish Eagles calling from blue skies.
My calves screaming after the never ending climb up the Pezula hill. Fantabulous burger at Easthead suitable compensation.
Forest run.jpgThe studio cold in the mornings before the sun visits. A couple of small paintings finished, and others packed and sent off to their new homes. An emotional handing over of a copy of the portrait of the ‘The Pirate’ to Anton. My objective in painting this portrait series to show that homeless people still have dignity, achieved in this instance.
Decadent, is how Fromager d’Affinois pronounced: [fromage dafinwa], is described. A French double-cream soft cheese made from cow’s milk, invented in heaven. That is, the small town of Pélussin in the Rhône-Alpes region, and sent to us by Jennie.
‘Oupa’, a portrait of a builder working at the Heads. Hard as Stinkwood, with skin the colour of tannin filled waters, it feels as though he is one with the Forest.
Monday Blues.jpg
I used the Fabonacci sequence to fix the composition within the spiral. The eye falling at the golden ratio focal point, by adjusting the angle of the face. Raw Seinna my point of departure for the face, with Permanent Madder and Ultramarine for the dark patches. A grey mixture of Venetian Red and Cobalt Blue and one of the crazy paints from my mystery box, called Indigo. I added Quadr Rose to soften areas that were looking a tad harsh.

A couple of brave souls for the dry-run  studio movies that are planned for winter. As it was a British movie, Terry made fish pie (Jamie Oliver), of which I was a tad sceptical. It was amazing and I was glad that there were leftovers! A few niggles with remote control changes from the video that runs on the screen showing my finger-painting style and the dvd player. The chairs comfortable, and the blankets unnecessary on an unnaturally warm evening.

Forest run. My legs, still stiff from the earlier hills, struggeling over the uneven surface. Coordination shot.

Promised storm has arrived. Fire warming the apartment.

Disconnected bark ….

Grown old within the forest, 

Tree stands alone

His branches touching others, reaching out

No other woody-limbs responding

Left to wither, scorned by spruces

When really, maturity brings

Strength, wisdom, stature

Dignity to withstand the loss of youthful sap.

His deeply weathered, protective canopy

Grown thin

Tree’s autumn leaves

Announce life’s natural rhythm 

Always there, seldom seen

He is alone, within a forest grown 

Silent, statuesque 

Tree’s pride awaits his fall

Terry Ellen 

June 2016

Jamie Oliver’s Fish Pie
Prep time
30 mins
Cook time
30 mins
Total time
1 hour
Serves: 8
for the mashed potato topping
  • 1kg potatoes, peeled and chopped into large chunks
  • 400g frozen peas
  • 2 tablespoons butter
  • zest of 1 lemon
  • salt & pepper to taste
for the fish pie filling
  • 500ml (2 cups) milk
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 200g frozen hake fillets
  • 200g frozen smoked haddock fillets
  • 200g frozen shelled prawns
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  • 2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
  • 3 tablespoons flour
  • 1 heaped teaspoon English mustard
  • 40g (1/2 cup) mature cheddar, grated
  • juice of 1 lemon
  • salt & pepper to taste
  • 2 onions, finely chopped
  • 2 carrots, finely chopped
  1. Place the potatoes in a large pot of boiling water or in a steamer and cook until soft.
  2. Pour boiling water over the peas to de-frost them then blend in a food processor.
  3. Mash the potatoes then mix in peas, butter and lemon zest. Season to taste.
  4. Pre-heat the oven to 200°c.
  5. To make the fish pie, poach the fish in the milk with the bay leaf. When the fish is cooked, remove the fish and flake into large chunks. Reserve the milk.
  6. In a large, oven-proof frying pan fry the onion and carrot in a splash of olive oil until soft and fragrant. Add the garlic and fry for another 30 seconds.
  7. Add the flour and stir then add the milk the fish was poached to create a creamy sauce.
  8. Add the English mustard and fish and stir well then add the cheese and lemon juice and stir.
  9. Season to taste.
  10. Top the fish filling with the mashed potato and create indents with a spoon which will become nice and crispy in the oven.
  11. Place the pie in the oven and allow to bake for 30-40 minutes until the top is golden brown and crispy.
  12. Remove from the oven and allow to cool for 10 minutes then serve.
Diary of an Adventure

Juba Adventures


A warm 36 degrees as a welcome back to Juba Town, with not one of my three Internet options working. Dark clouds threatening rain. On the easel a painting of the Impala LIlies.
After my 12 hour day of meetings and sorting the security clearances for the repatriation to Ethiopia of the bodies of two of our contract staff killed by drowning and electrocution, I needed my jog, even if it was a tad darker than I feel comfortable being out and about. I fought my way around the loop and stumbled across what I can only think were nightjars in the road.

Governors Forum in South Sudan, the usual frank discussions between various levels of government. Protocol observed, the vigorous debate done within guidelines of politeness.

The devastation in the Philippines made personnel with one of my staff finally managing to trace his 7 year old daughter and her mother. Thankfully alive, after weeks of no contact. His home trashed and no communication or access to his home due to the debris on the island of Eastern Samar, at a place called Guiuan, where the first landfall of the monster storm took place.

Huge storm, patio flooded, jogging shoes saturated, painting safe. Amazingly I actually have tomatoes and avo’s from the market, curtesy of our caterers at the office. Some sort of normality after the craziness.

Today –
I lost my reason
Over a paint job on bespoke bedroom cupboards:
My reaction
Out of context.

And then my in-box
A plea for Leave of Absence
For a father
To find his his daughter
And her mother.

In the typhoon waste:
A teddy bear
A blanket scrap
A twisted vest
A sodden household of clumped-together

Tonight –
That paint swatch is

Terry Ellen
November 2013